Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ shirt sells for £7m to mystery bidder

Diego Maradona's iconic 'Hand of God' shirt has been sold for more than £7million at an auction.

The legendary Argentine playmaker wore the shirt when he famously scored with his hand past Peter Shilton at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. Maradona swapped shirts with England's Steve Hodge at full-time and the jersey has now been sold for £7million after a month-long auction held by Sotheby's.

The winning bid of £7.142million was made in the final minute of the sale to make it the most expensive match-worn shirt ever sold, with the £4million reserve placed on the shirt already met earlier in the auction.

An anonymous bidder won the auction, with their bid surpassing the previous record of £4.4million, which was paid for Babe Ruth's New York Yankees jersey in 2019.

Prior to the sale of Maradona's shirt, the most expensive match worn-football shirt was one worn by Lionel Messi in a 3-2 win for Barcelona against Real Madrid in 2017. The shirt sold earlier this week for £360,000.

Maradona's controversial 'Hand of God' goal saw him leap in the air and punch the ball over Shilton and into the back of the England net, much to the Three Lions' anger. He went on to score a stunning solo goal later in the match as Argentina won 2-1.

Argentina went on to win the tournament, their second and last World Cup triumph, with Maradona being named the best player of the tournament.

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His family had disputed the authenticity of the shirt and claimed that Hodge instead had the jersey worn by Maradona during the first half, before he scored his famous brace.

However, Sotheby's explained they had carried out extensive checks to verify the shirt, which had been loaned to the National Football Museum, beyond doubt.

Hodge's decision to sell the shirt came after he had insisted in the past that he had no interest in selling it, before explaining last month: "I have been the proud owner of this item for over 35 years, since Diego and I swapped shirts in the tunnel after the famed match. It was an absolute privilege to have played against one of the greatest and most magnificent football players of all time.

"The Hand of God shirt has deep cultural meaning to the football world, the people of Argentina, and the people of England and I'm certain that the new owner will have immense pride in owning the world's most iconic football shirt."

Maradona sadly passed away at the age of 60 in November 2020 after suffering a heart attack in his native Argentina.

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